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SQI: Simpson Querry Institute

News and Announcements

Read the most recent SQI news below, and subscribe to our newsletters to stay informed about what is happening at the institute.
Guillermo Ameer

Ameer wins Excellence in Biomaterials Science Award

August 25, 2023
SQI member Guillermo Ameer has been elected the winner of the 2023 Excellence in Biomaterials Science Award, an honor given by the Surfaces in Biomaterials Foundation. The award, the highest given by the foundation, recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the biomaterials science field.

‘New’ ALS gene destabilizes neuron’s structure and chokes off its nucleus

August 18, 2023
Northwestern University scientists led by SQI member Evangelos Kiskinis have discovered for the first time how mutated NEK1 genes lead to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). The findings could lead to new therapeutic targets for the disease.
Student making biomaterials out of alginate

SQI hosts high school students interested in medicine

August 14, 2023
Forty-seven high school students with the National Student Leadership Conference’s Medicine Intensive program visited SQI to learn about the Institute’s biomedical research and how therapeutic materials are synthesized, analyzed, and ultimately tested in disease models.
Shana Kelley

New DNA identification approach could improve monitoring for chronic diseases

July 27, 2023
Investigators led by SQI member Shana Kelley have developed a novel approach for identifying sequences of artificial DNA with differing levels of binding to other small molecules. The approach, detailed in a study published in Nature Chemistry, could help improve the efficiency of diagnostic monitoring for patients with chronic diseases.
Zheng Jenny Zhang

Meet the Faculty: Zheng Jenny Zhang

July 26, 2023
Zheng Jenny Zhang is a Research Professor of Surgery in the Division of Organ Transplantation at the Feinberg School of Medicine. In this interview, Zhang discusses her research focuses, her collaborations with nanotechnology experts at SQI, and her role as director of the Microsurgery and Preclinical Research Core at Feinberg’s Comprehensive Transplant Center.
Susan Quaggin

Quaggin named new chair of Medicine

June 28, 2023
SQI member Susan Quaggin has been named the new chair of the Department of Medicine, effective September 1. In this new role, she will also serve as Physician-in-Chief at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Medical Group. She will be the first woman to serve as Northwestern University’s chair of Medicine.
Panelists speaking about biomedical science

What does the new frontier in biomedicine look like?

June 2, 2023
Some of Northwestern University’s brightest minds in biomedical science — including SQI members Shana Kelley, Guillermo Ameer and John Rogers — converged before a packed auditorium May 30 to discuss the hottest topics in their fields. Hosted by Provost Kathleen Hagerty, “The New Frontiers of Biomedical Science and Biomedical Engineering” explored wide-ranging matters related to improving the quality of human life, including advances in artificial intelligence (AI), new approaches to treating cancer, the quest for longevity, the potential of regenerative medicine and the promise of bioelectronics.
American Academy of Arts and Sciences logo

Three SQI members elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 20, 2023
SQI members Guillermo Ameer, Shana Kelley, and Susan Quaggin have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies. They are among eight Northwestern University faculty and nearly 270 total members elected in 2023 drawn from academia, the arts, industry, policy, research and science.

New therapy harnesses patients’ blood cells to fight tumors

April 10, 2023

Researchers led by SQI member Shana Kelley have discovered it is possible to isolate a tumor’s attack cells non-invasively from blood, rather than from tumors. The approach is fast, cost-effective and could be used to treat a variety of cancers.


Plastic transistor amplifies biochemical sensing signal

April 3, 2023
Northwestern University researchers led by SQI member Jonathan Rivnay have developed a new technology that boosts the body’s chemical signals by more than 1,000 times. By enabling amplification of weak biochemical signals, the new approach brings modern medicine one step closer to real-time, on-site diagnostics and disease monitoring.

Kelley to lead new biomedical research hub

March 3, 2023

SQI member Shana Kelley has been selected as president of a new biomedical research hub in Chicago funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). CZI will invest $250 million over a decade into the biohub, which will bring together scientists from three Illinois universities to develop tiny sensors that measure biological processes in human tissues. The work is expected to provide new insights into inflammation and how it contributes to disease.

Stupp awarded Bauerman Medal

February 20, 2023

SQI director Samuel Stupp has been awarded the Bauerman Medal from the Materials Department at Imperial College London. The medal and accompanying prize lecture highlight advances in materials science and engineering. Stupp’s lecture, Frontiers in Supramolecular Design of Materials, will be delivered on March 15.

Randy Atwal

Meet the Researchers: Randy Atwal

January 23, 2023
Randy Atwal is a Research Assistant Professor in the laboratory of SQI member Shana Kelley and the featured speaker for the Rising Stars of SQI Lecture on Feb. 3. In this interview, Atwal previews his lecture titled “LEAPFROG: Large-Scale Cell Profiling Based Discovery Engine” and discusses his role in the translationally focused Kelley group.
vertical electrochemical transistor

Vertical electrochemical transistor pushes wearable electronics forward

January 23, 2023
A transdisciplinary Northwestern University research team including SQI member Jonathan Rivnay has developed a revolutionary transistor that is expected be ideal for lightweight, flexible, high-performance bioelectronics. The electrochemical transistor is compatible with blood and water and can amplify important signals, making it especially useful for biomedical sensing.